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Author Archive

Relevancy and Context are “Critical” with Sentiment Analysis

by May 24, 2011

September 11 Whenever I come across a piece that highlights how tricky sentiment analysis truly is, I tend to be encouraged more often than dissuaded to keep trying to figure it out.

Sentiment analysis is tough—not as in strict, like a teacher is tough, or in resilient, like a marathoner is tough. More like hard, like an AP calculus test is tough.  Not hard, like a block of concrete is hard.  Hard, as in difficult.  Eh, nevermind.

A colleague of mine just sent me a piece from the Miller-McCune site discussing a flawed mood study about September 11 pager text messages.

Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany had concluded that there was an escalating level of “anger” words communicated to pagers as time passed on September 11 (here’s the study).  I’ve included the original data graph in this post. (more…)

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Hope for Human Sentiment Analysis Coding

by May 13, 2011

I just read an interesting blog post on Social Times discussing the advantages of machine-based sentiment analysis. In the piece, author Dr. Taras Zagibalov challenges the critics of “automatic” sentiment analysis, who claim that humans can better determine than computers the sentiment of social media text. He asserts that, with the proper tuning of a system’s classifier—creating specific classifiers for each domain (subject matter) and keeping them current—a machine-based sentiment analysis system can outperform human accuracy.

The discussion of human vs. machine sentiment is core to our work at Dialogue Earth, where we are developing Pulse—a social media analytics tool to help tease out nuances in the social media dialogue about key societal topics. Pulse social media analytics tool (more…)

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“Momentum” for Dialogue Earth

by May 11, 2011

We are thrilled that Dialogue Earth is featured in the most recent issue of Momentum magazine, an award-winning publication from the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

momentum_dropshadow_300dpi While we work to optimize key aspects of our business—from the incentives we provide crowdsourced video creators, to the quality of the underlying data for Pulse, our social media analytics tool—we’re also rapdily ramping up our efforts to engage and broaden our base of supporters and collaborators.

Indeed, this Momentum feature piece comes at a great time for us.  There’s a ton going on.

Our Pulse tool is just about ready for prime time.  In a matter of weeks, we’ll have an version of Pulse that will provide daily information on the Twittersphere’s mood about the weather.  On the heels of that, we’ll be looking at Twitter chatter related to gas prices.

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A Crowdsourcing Bill of Rights

by April 29, 2011

bill-of-rights-300x214_0I just listened to an excellent podcast by David Alan Grier on The Daily Crowdsource, focused on the rights of crowdsourced workers. Grier defined four broad classes of crowdsourced workers–the microlabor, partial employment, contest and public opinion worker.

We at Dialogue Earth are extremely interested in this topic, as crowdsourcing is core to our strategy, both in the way we analyze social media, and in how we produce media content to engage diverse audiences. It is critical to us that we achieve high quality, efficient work and, more importantly, that our crowdsourced workforce is treated fairly. Heck, we’d like them to feel as great about this work we do. (more…)

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Cultivating the Crowd for Social Media Analysis

by April 22, 2011

In a recent post on Crowdsourcing.org, Panos Ipeirotis writes that Amazon Mechanical Turk today is a “market for lemons,” referencing economist George Akerlof concept of quality uncertainty. For those who aren’t familiar with Mechanical Turk, it’s a distributed workforce platform that allows one to crowdsource small tasks. For a relatively low cost, those requesting work can get their tasks quickly accomplished by a large pool of anonymous workers.

This post resonates with us at Dialogue Earth, where we are leveraging a crowdsourced workforce to help us analyze social media dialogue. Our Pulse tool relies on crowdsourced workers to determine the sentiment of Twitter tweets on topics like the U.S. mood about weather.

Pulse, by Dialogue Earth

(more…)

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Energy Videos Set the Stage for Dialogue Earth Media Challenge

by April 18, 2011

We’re thrilled to showcase the videos from our most recent crowd-sourced video competition.

The purpose of these videos is to provide a basic understanding of energy–where we get it, how we move it around and how we use it–and to set the the stage for the upcoming Dialogue Earth Media Challenge, a year-long series of video competitions focused on energy topics.

The first place video, “Marvin and Sprinkles,” provides a fantastic example of the creativity that we believe is essential to effectively engage audiences on often complex societal issues.

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Coming This Summer: The Dialogue Earth Media Challenge

by March 28, 2011

Dialogue Earth Media Challenge - homepage At Dialogue Earth, our mission is to increase public understanding on key societal topics. Since we launched a little over a year ago, we’ve spent every day trying to figure out how we make that happen.

Months of strategy meetings and pilot tests have culminated in the creation of a new event.

The inaugural Dialogue Earth Media Challenge™ will be a year-long series of 10 video contests focused on energy topics. Beginning in July 2011, creative people from across the U.S. and beyond will compete to produce compelling, short videos on a range of topics—including the basics of various energy sources, energy efficiency, hybrids, and smart grid.

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60 Seconds to Start to Answer, Why Dialogue Earth?

by March 12, 2011

As we work to develop partnerships and to garner support from individuals and organizations, we continually must answer the question, “Why Dialogue Earth?”

We are passionate about our mission to increase public understanding on societal topics, and believe very strongly in our strategy to understand the dialogue and to create relevant, trustworthy and engaging media.

After much deliberation (described in a post here), the Dialogue Earth team made the decision to turn to the crowd to help tell our story.

(more…)

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Maximing Crowdsourcing Video Projects: an Interview

by February 28, 2011

Dialogue Earth’s associate director, Tom Masterman, was recently interviewed by Crowdsourcing.org about the decision whether or not to crowdsource the creation of video content. In the second part of this interview, Tom talks with Crowdsourcing.org’s Carl Esposti about the issues of time to execute, project phases, worker incentives and managing the interaction with the crowd.

Carl Esposti: So, once you give the crowdsourcing video project the green light, what challenges were you faced with?

Tom Masterman:
Once we’ve made the decision to crowdsource a project, we’ll generally experience a cocktail of emotions, from anxiety to anticipation. After all, we’ve just welcomed a crowd of people into our company. (more…)

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Contemplating Content Crowd-Sourcing: an Interview

by February 18, 2011

Dialogue Earth’s associate director, Tom Masterman, was recently interviewed by Crowdsourcing.org about recent projects to crowd-source the creation of Dialogue Earth videos. In this post, the first of a two-part series, Tom talks with Crowdsourcing.org’s Carl Esposti about the issues of control, quality, cost and timing.

Carl Esposti: Why did Dialogue Earth consider crowdsourcing a video project?

Tom Masterman: Just the other day, I realized that crowdsourcing now pervades most aspects of the business strategy for our start-up nonprofit, Dialogue Earth. Given some personal experiences producing corporate videos, I truly wanted to avoid the unfortunate situation where you develop something in-house (or with a single contractor or agency) that you and the executive team love, but that falls flat with your target viewers. Since our goal is to communicate science in ways easily understood by a variety of audiences, it seemed worthwhile to test how the crowd would explain our key points.

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Tapping the Crowd to Tell Our Story

by February 15, 2011

A version of this post also appeared as a guest column for the Idea Peepshow blog.

On occasion, I have to remind myself that marketing is a means to an end, and that the messaging and creative that resonate deeply with me may have little impact on the audience I’m endeavoring to reach.

My latest reminder has come in launching a brand from scratch. Never before have I had so much potential marketing control than today, as I help raise awareness for Dialogue Earth.

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A Journey to Understand Social Media Sentiment

by February 14, 2011

Brand Bowl 2011

Chrysler stood atop the final standing for Brand Bowl 2011.

On Super Bowl Sunday, 106.5 million viewers were watching the big game—the largest TV audience ever, according to Nielsen. Many tuned in to witness the Packers battle the Steelers; even more, I imagine, were watching to see emerging brand Groupon face off against fan-favorite Go Daddy and advertising stalwarts Pepsi, Doritos and Volkswagen.

Millions were simultaneously browsing the Web, monitoring game stats and their Super Bowl pools, and checking out the brands advertised on the TV spots. A much smaller group of advertising and social media junkies were simultaneously glued to “Brand Bowl 2011,” a venture between ad agency Mullen and social media monitor Radian6 to monitor and rank the sentiment of Twitter references of Super Bowl advertisers. (more…)

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“No Shell Blues” Wins First Video Contest

by February 13, 2011

We’re thrilled to award Cuyler Bryant’s “No Shell Blues” with first place in our pilot video contest.

To understand why a cartoon snail singing the blues about ocean acidification won our contest, let me first provide some background.
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Crowd-Sourcing as a Core Business Strategy

by February 11, 2011

A version of this post appeared on The Daily Crowdsource.

I’m not exactly sure when it started, but just about every core strategy of my business now involves crowdsourcing. Or, is it crowd-sourcing? Crowd sourcing? The reason I’m not firmly convinced how to spell something that’s in practically every e-mail and tweet I write is an indication that one, it’s a new concept, and two, it’s something exciting enough to jump into without all the answers.

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